Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quick Hits - December 29, 2011

5 days from the Iowa Caucus votes and the drama continues in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination.  CNN's latest poll on the race in Iowa has Romney leading with 25%, Ron Paul in second with 22%, Rick Santorum surging to third with 16%, and Newt Gingrich fading to 14% and fourth place.  Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann trail.

Bachmann's campaign took a major double hit late yesterday as the Chairman of her Iowa campaign, Kent Sorenson, just hours after appearing at a Bachmann event, resigned as her Chair and then appeared at a Ron Paul event to endorse Paul.  The other hit was a 'super-pac' that was announced to support Bachmann has switched it's allegiance to Mitt Romney - making a nearly half million dollar ad buy on Christmas Eve to promote Romney.  There are also reports of calls from leading evangelicals in Iowa calling for Bachmann to drop out and endorse Santorum.

Bachmann's remaining camp are claiming that Ron Paul's campaign offered money to Kent Sorenson to make the 11th hour switch - accusations that both Sorenson and Paul's campaign deny.  Hot Air has a report that brings these denials into question.

Ron Paul's 'surge' seems to be based far more on non-Republican's than on a growing and expanding base within the Republican Party.  He continues to demonstrate that he is little more than a crank on the fringe - not only with a foreign policy that is far closer to Jeremiah Wright's - but with asinine comments praising the OccupyWallStreet morons..
While campaigning in Iowa on Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul praised the Occupy Wall Street movement, comparing it to the Tea Party movement. "In many ways, I identify with both groups," Paul said. Both groups are fed up with problems in Washington and "the two-party-system," Paul said while speaking at an insurance company in Des Moines.

Praising the left-wing Occupy Wall Street movement is an unusual move for a Republican presidential candidate, but Ron Paul is, of course, an unusual Republican presidential candidate. He jumped to first place in the Iowa caucus polls partly because of support from people who aren't Republicans. His comments that members of the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street are unhappy with the "two-party system" could fuel speculation that Paul will make a third-party bid of his own--something he has not ruled out.
The challenge that Paul faces, beyond himself, is would he really be willing to run as a third party candidate as the backlash would not be directed just at him, but also at his son Rand Paul, a freshman Senator from Tennessee?  Is his ego such that he would put his son's political career into risk?

Another freshman Senator, Scott Brown, from Massachusetts, has proclaimed himself ready for the fight he faces against the extreme left Elizabeth Warren for his seat.  While he has aggravated Republicans and seems to have abandoned the Tea Party support he used to win the special election for his seat, he has announced that Warren is too extreme and too hard left for Massachusetts.  This is one of the most vulnerable GOP seats - and a campaign to watch.

JammieWearingFool takes a sharp stick and pokes an element of the supposedly 'unbiased' media in the eye with it - and a few facts.  The Hill has a front page article gushing over the President's one day blip in the Gallup tracking poll using the results as proof that the President is finding his stride and much success as a 'champion of the middle class'.  It's an unbelievable puff piece promoting the President and his class warfare rhetoric.  Yet, not only does the current Gallup poll show that the President's approval / disapproval has fallen back to 44 / 48 - but Rasmussen has two new polls that reflect very poorly on the President's current standing.  Rasmussen is showing the gap between those who strongly approve / strongly disapprove of the President is back to a near high water mark of -18 (18% more strongly disapprove than strongly approve of the President), but that in a head to head match against Mitt Romney, Romney leads 45-39.  I believe this is the first time that the President, in one of these hypotheticals, polls less than 40%.

Victor Davis Hanson notes 'America's Two Front War' in the battle between the classes that is being waged by President Obama - and the 'change' that Obama actually delivered...
Sometime about mid-2009 America began changing psychologically. True, to the naked eye, America retained the old hustle-and-bustle, but in an insidious fashion it began to think a bit differently. And that change in mentality explains in part why a year-and-a-half recession that officially ended in summer 2009 seems never to have ended at all.

In short, a sizable fraction of the upper-incomes is hesitant, defensive, unsure — and to such a degree that for a while longer it is not hiring, buying, or investing in the old way. It believes not only that there is no certainty in the tax code, the cost of new entitlements, or our national finance, but that even if there were their own successes would be suspect and earn antipathy rather than praise.

In mirror-image fashion, those of the lower incomes are likewise hesitant to take risks — unsure that the rewards of work in the private sector are all that much better than what government can offer through subsidies. The former group fears government will grow; the latter that it will not. The one suspects that Obama will confiscate more earnings; the other hopes that it will. Either way, there are fewer enterprising employers and fewer self-motivated galvanized workers.

The result of this two-front war is that America has been slowing down.

This is the gridlock that should concern us.

Remember when the President told us all that 'Everyone must sacrifice for the greater good...'?  Louis XVIth reincarnated took this message to heart as he played in his 90th round of golf since becoming President.  As Mel Brooks noted, 'It's good to be King'.

Disney Cruises has announced that it is scrapping 4 cruises from Los Angeles to Mexico in 2012 in favor of an unannounced new itinerary.  They decline to announce why the cruises with stops at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and other Mexican cities were cancelled - but one has to wonder if the security issues in Mexico were at the core.  The silence in the US / Mainstream media over the carnage in Mexico - and the Holder DoJ role in arming the cartels behind the carnage remains deafening.

Disney is also having some technical challenges at it's California Disneyland park this holiday week.  For the last 6 nights, the Disney fireworks extravaganza 'Holiday Magic' has been cancelled for undisclosed 'technical issues'.

The New York Times demonstrates more utter fail - sending a message regarding subscription cancellation to 8.5 million email addresses as opposed to the 300 it intended to send the message to.  Then it cannot decide on whom to blame for the snafu - pretty much refusing to take accountability and responsibility for the mistake.  [I got one - haven't subscribed in over a decade, but I still use that email address - so the NYT offered me 'such a deal' to return.  Not likely as the product isn't worth it.]
In a laughable moment - Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, noting that many of his fellow hard left South American leaders are being diagnosed with cancer, accuses the US of causing these cancer outbreaks.

The United Nations continues to demonstrate their irrelevance and cluelessness.  Last week, the General Assembly held a minute of silence to show respect for the dead tyrant Kim Jong-Il.  Yesterday, to note his funeral in the DPRK, the United Nations flag was flown at half mast. The UN celebrates a man who starved millions of his own people - but others who fought for freedom and human rights get no mention whatsoever.

In Syria, despite the arrival and observation of Arab League observers, the regime continues to have the military target civilians who are demonstrating against the Assad dictatorship.  The decision to bring in Arab League observers will ultimately be a farce - particularly since the head of the Arab League observers in Syria was the person who led the Darfur genocide campaign.

The Euro dropped again yesterday and stock markets remain very wary over the Eurozone crisis.  The Italian's held another bond sale.  While the yields remained below the 7% 'crisis' threshold in the closely watched sale, they remain high and the amount sold was less than the Italian government desired.  The IMF head, Christine Lagarde, made comments that did little to lessen the concern - and the Euro crisis is worsening - not improving...
“Lagarde’s comments come amidst fresh evidence that Europe’s financial crisis continues to worsen. Last week, the European Central Bank provided €489 billion ($US633 billion) in three-year loans to cash-strapped European banks, but figures released overnight show that European banks have turned around and deposited a record €452 billion with the ECB. This is stark evidence that the European interbank lending market remains crippled, and that banks would rather earn the meagre 0.25 per cent interest rate that the ECB pays on depots, rather than running the risk of lending to other banks at much higher interest rates.
On This Day in History -

1170 - Archbishop Thomas Becket is murdered by 4 Knights of King Henry II apparently on orders from the King

1890 - US Army 7th Cavalry troops massacre over 150 Indians at Wounded Knee

1940 - London suffers its most devastating air raid of the war as German aircraft firebomb the city.  This is the raid that led to this iconic photo of the undamaged St. Paul's Cathedral dome surrounded by smoke from the fires caused by the raid...

Upcoming posts - some thoughts about the political race / 2012

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